As Nigeria prepares to face Egypt in the AFCON 2017 qualifying series on March 25, a sports guru and proprietor of Fortune FC of Uyo, Senator Alloysius Etok has admitted that scarcity of dependable play-makers in Nigerian football has been a big problem over the years.
Senator Etok, who represented Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District at the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Abuja from 2007 to 2015 has expressed concern over the sudden lack of gifted and talented footballers who would put smiles on the faces of millions of football enthusiast in the country and beyond.
He said in an interview in Uyo recently that though the country has performed well in the game of football, especially in the age-grade level in the world, there is need for structural adjustment by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) in order to reach the best level and excel exceedingly, especially in the senior level.
“As at today, Nigeria has gone up to a point of not having potent play-makers again; I mean those who would decide the course of the game within 90 minutes, We no longer have a class of football play-makers who would attract many fans to fill the stadium to its maximum capacity anywhere in the country,” said Senator Alloysius Etok.
“It’s unfortunate that we no more have the caliber of fine crop of players in the mould of Segen Odegbami, Muda Lawal, Christian Chukwu, Ifeanyi Onyedika, Rasheedi Yekini, Stepen Keshi, Sampson Ozogula, James Etokebe, Kanu Nwankwo and Austin Okocha, who would pull much crowd to the stadium. In those days, fans will rush to the stadium because of those names that appeal to them because of the high performance level. But now, we no longer have teams with big names today. Our standard of football is gradually going down,” he lamented.
“Such players come at a particular time and along the line, there comes a time also that you won’t have quality players. It has happened to so many countries like Spain, Brazil, etc. So it’s not a Nigerian thing, but we have to do something about it with a view to improving on the situation and get back on track,” said Senator Etok.
The proprietor of National League Division two side, Fortune FC of Uyo noted that what the country lacked much and needed most is long term proper plan for sports development, pointing out that another huge problem of Nigerian football is probably lack of proper investment in the game.
Hear him: “Probably the problem of football in the country is that we are not investing properly enough in the game. We need to plan well for competitions ahead of time and that is the reason we need a long term plan for football. It’s important that we improve on our league too. Our football mangers have to wake up. We need to groom our future champions today.”
He urged the Coach Samson Siasia Super Eagles to go all out with full strength to beat Egypt on March 25 and make Nigeria proud.

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